THE heart says Honeysuckle, the head says… Honeysuckle.
Sometimes the head and the heart can say the same thing. It’s okay to believe it. She can win again tomorrow. Indeed there are lots of reasons to believe it.
Returning to Leopardstown. Returning to two miles. Now race fit. Better ground. Hatton’s Grace form working out. Ready to run for her life.
It seems like it has become fashionable to write horses off straight away. One and you’re done. Gone at the game. That can sound cool and sharp and even shrewd, but it’s usually lazy analysis. Honeysuckle might well be on the downgrade now but even if she’d bombed out at Fairyhouse, the evidence of one run wouldn’t hold up in court.
And she did no such thing. She ran a big race behind two talented stayers on soft ground. Even if she can run to the same standard again she’ll be bang there against State Man and Vauban.
Ruby Walsh thinks it will be the race of the weekend because of how tactical it could be. Tactical races usually lead to close finishes and it’s more likely than not the trio will be covered by a couple of lengths or less turning for home. Wait for the roar.
The make-up of the Irish Gold Cup today is different. You have Galopin Des Champs in what should be a victory lap. Walsh’s views on page 13 are more significant than anything I will write here but looking further afield it seems like there is very little Willie Mullins’ horse can actually do today to supplement his already short price for the Gold Cup.
Three miles at Leopardstown is one thing, three and a quarter at Cheltenham is another. Sizing John is the only horse in the last 25 years to have done the double. We’ll wait and see.
In contrast, three horses in the last eight years have done the Irish Arkle - Arkle double and whatever horse comes out on top today will have great claims to make it four in nine, Jonbon or not.
Sorry Ruby, this is actually the race of the weekend. Just to clarify that, Saint Roi, a Grade 1 winner over the course and distance, is as big as 12/1 for the race which just goes to show you the strength in depth.
A penny for thoughts of Paul Townend as he sat down to ponder which of the Closutton quintet he would put his faith in. Or maybe it wasn’t a difficult decision at all. There has always been a big belief in Appreciate It. There would have to be when you think he was allowed to run in a Champion Hurdle first time out last season.
The shape of this race might just work out well for him as well, sitting in behind a likely red-hot pace set by Danny Mullins on Dysart Dynamo. It’s a game of cat and mighty mouse. Catch us if you can.
Lots will be attracted to the prospect of ‘DDD’ going fence to fence. It could be electric or it could be a disaster. There is no other way for the horse but he’s all the more exciting for it. Hopefully the race sets the tone for a brilliant weekend.